For many years, I walked the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City knowing that every other booth would be another artisanal cheese or chocolate. I expected to see more of the same this year and was pleasantly surprised to see incredibly innovative and creative gourmet foods with a nutritional slant.

Here are highlights from the show that will be influencing how we eat year-round.

Perpetual proteins.New ways of getting protein are being touted every day. I have my bets ongourmet tunas.It’s been a staple in the American pantry for eternity: drained albacore, punched up with some mayo and seasoning for classic salads, sandwiches and casseroles. Tonnino is tempting taste buds and inspiring foodies everywhere to change their tune about tuna. Tonnino Premium yellowfin contains only the finest cuts of tuna for exceptional appearance, texture and taste you can enjoy straight out of the jar. It features seven innovative flavor varieties and high-quality ingredients, combined to make a delicious and healthy product not to be missed. I never thought luxuries could come in a jar.

Power fats. The message is finally breaking through. Good fats are good for you and there are new ways to work good fast into your diet. Soft and creamyavocadois getting whipped into more things. So aremacadamia nuts. Hawaiian Host showed delicious ways to enjoy this nut with the acquisition of
A wide array of samples to try at Fancy Food.
Mauna Loa, which has more heart-healthy monounsaturated fat than any other nut. Thanks to Rachael Ray, we all know to reach for theEVOO(Extra Virgin Olive Oil). Watch out for blends. You will get the most nutrients from an authentic Italian oil like Redero or Greek oil like Gaea. Compare the flavor and you can taste the difference.

Grain mania.Whole grains, ancient grains, indigenous grains, sustainable grains; there isgrain talk at every turn. The latest grain about town issorghum, but let’s not forgetrice. Basmati is a long-grain, aromatic rice with a lower glycemic index and 20% more fiber than any other rice. Amira, the global leader in basmati, is bringing it from the foothills of the Himalayas around the world. They believe rice is the new American replacement for bread and rice is today where wine was 20 years ago when the two choices were red or white. Rice comes in many varieties.

Dairy alternatives.You won’t be missing anything but hidden saturated fats if yougive up dairy, as many people are learning with great companies like DF Maven, CoYo, Coconut Bliss, Daiya and many other brands catering to the dairy-free, lactose-intolerant lifestyle. The Savanna Bee Company was serving honeycombs, a clever and delicious replacement for chunks on the cheese plate.

Not all dairy is equal. Those who continue to consumedairyare more consumed with its origin. I learned from Kura Smoothies that its protein powders comes from grass-fed New Zealand cattle, which has higher levels of omega-3s than grain-fed dairy protein.

Out of the Amazon. Acai, yerba mate, guarana—all the popular Brazilian ingredients are still going strong. A new Brazilian beverage called Organique combined them all for a natural Amazonian shot of energy.

The new luxury snack.Usually tossed on cereals, salads and in trail mix,dried fruitsare joining nuts as a solo single-serve snack. StoneRidge Orchards dries and packs Montmorency cherries, which are anti-inflammatory, high in antioxidants and melatonin. Grace & I bakes gorgeous cakes that are made solely of fruits and nuts. The Laughing Giraffe blends fruits and nuts to make what they call Snackaroons. Spicely is using its mint, chai, allspice and more to spice up candies.

Excuses to snack.You see less candybars these days. You are also seeing fewer sandwiches. People are getting their mid-day nutrients fromsnack bars or chipsmade of healthy ingredients likeseaweed, kale and beans—a healthier hybrid of both. The Good Bean turns roasted chickpeas into a more nutritious snack.
Chef Maneet Chauhan at the Royal Basmati Rice Booth.
New breed of drinks.Carbonation is making a comeback. Old-fashioned seltzer is a great way to avoid sugary sodas. There are new variations on thissparkling drinkto try. Live Kombucha Soda comes in traditional soda flavors and serves up alkalinity. Pokpok makes flavored vinegar drinks so they are not hard to swallow. SmartFruit makes mixes that have 100% real fruits, boosted with powerfully functional “superfoods” to deliver all the essential nutritional values that nature intended. You can mix them with water, soda or liquors to make your own healthy drinks.

Food as medicine. Lewis Mountain Fresh Farms is takinghealthy ingredientsone step further. The company, known for its sauerkraut and other fermented products, is promoting proven healing through food.

Pro-style at home.We’re using tips from the pros, why not use theirtools, too. I saw home-style versions of commercial stick-resistant cookware and cutlery like Gunter Wilhelm and DIY en papillote with PaperChef’s parchment bags. Both are healthier ways to prepare food.

We should be really excited with the direction the gourmet food industry is going and enjoy the foods that treat our bodies well.

Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, a globe-trotting trend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company ( a New York-based marketing communications firm. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 30 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, August 2015(online 7/16/2015).